A practical application of the previous post on “Tangible versus Intangible Assets” is in knowledge transfer from senior retiring staff to junior understudy. Hint: a big bank used the term “knowledge harvesting” of senior experts; they did not get far (who wants to be “harvested”?). Another hint: because this new practice is not part of the employment contract (signed years ago), get a respected senior retiring staff to show the example and seriously consider his/her nominee for junior understudy (pre-existing trust between senior retiring staff and junior understudy is essential).
Note how we cover the three categories:
Transfer of some human capital: mentoring of understudy (over several months) to cover making important decisions, practice in problem solving, “tricks of the trade”, “war stories” e.g. about how past crises were successfully handled, coaching in critical phases of a business process, etc.
Transfer of structural capital: turnover of records such as project work files, emails, work folders in computer, manuals, work templates and tools, problem-solution logbook if any, Internet bookmarks, important information sources, etc.
Transfer of relationship capital: senior retiring staff introduces the junior understudy to important external business contacts and internal stakeholders especially through informal or social occasions, turnover of telephone directory, confidential briefing of understudy on personalities, strengths/weaknesses and relationship styles of key business, network and internal contacts.